Our inspiring, tenacious, quick-witted and fun-loving mom Trudy Vonkeman (aka Geertruida Anke, née van Bruggen) left us on Friday, December 27 for new adventures. You may know her from her daily 5km coulee walks (weather permitting) —until what turned out to be multiple myeloma stopped her in her tracks in October; her attendance at cultural happenings, or her volunteer work with the Galt Museum & Archives and the Dutch Canadian Club of Lethbridge.
Born June 25, 1934 to Hendrik Laurens van Bruggen (1900-1978) and Ankje (née Spoelstra, 1899-1980) in De Bilt, The Netherlands, Trudy survived WWII and the infamous hunger winter of 1944, as well as a near-drowning in Mallorca, Spain from laughing too hard, to live a life filled with family and great friends (including fellow Scout leaders); work as a stenographer, banking and book publisher assistant; travels by foot, bike, Solex, trains, planes, various boats (even a dragon boat), sea kayaks... her most challenging adventure was emigrating to Canada in 1981 with her husband Wim and three children to join his family on the prairies.
Left to mourn in Canada and recall great memories are her daughter Anine (Chris Oxley and son Mason Hoffos with Lauren Morris), sons Alwin (Vicky Tejada, Sebastian and Maxwell) and Herwin (Terriann Nolette, Christopher and Jeremy), as well as in-laws John and Jo, Gerda, Elly, Ina and Cor Brouwer, Mary and Fred Venhuis, Pete Schuld, Louis Tolsma and their families; extended family in Alberta, B.C. and Ontario (including Jon Oxley and Sharon Lank, Dianne Nolette, Mary Ann van Bruggen, Joan Paterson). In Papua New Guinea, Trudy's oldest brother Johan and his extended family will miss her. In The Netherlands, Trudy's youngest brother Henk van Bruggen (Ada, son Maurice and partner), her elder sister Elly's children Anneke, Erik, Iris, Olaf, Yanthe and their partners and families, as well as Ditty Verburgh (Cor, Cor Jr. and family, Marleen), Arnold van de Berg, and other extended family will remember mom.
Trudy was predeceased by her parents, her husband Wim Vonkeman (1929-2004), sister Elly (van Maanen, 1929-2018), niece Madelon Mulder (van Bruggen, 1976-2019), infant great-nephew Wouter Vlasblom, an infant sister, and extended family members including cousin Frits van Bruggen, brothers-in-law Abe, Henk and Andy Vonkeman, Adrie van Maanen, sisters-in-law Evelyn Tolsma and Alice Schuld.
Marie Van Haarlem, who founded a maternity hospital in Lethbridge in 1910, was a direct relation of Trudy's. Mom was amused that the path of her own life also ended up in Lethbridge.
On June 27, 2020, a celebration potluck and coulee walk will be held to honour our unforgettable mom. Please join us—we'd love to hear how she touched your life!
To send flowers to Trudy's family, please visit our floral section.